If you own a small business in Oregon, one of your worst nightmares is upsetting the wrong customer. Everyone knows that customer. This person takes their dissatisfaction online and tweets about it or shares damaging photos. If they have tens of thousands of followers, the problem just got 10 times worse.

Handling situations before they get to this point may help to neutralize bad situations and stop them from turning into media blowups or lawsuits. There is no guarantee you can stop a determined customer, but there are ways to potentially reduce the blowback.

  1. Avoid challenging them publicly

When someone questions the quality of your product or service, your first instinct may be to defend your brand. This is natural, but Forbes recommends that you resist the temptation. Challenging them may only upset them further. Instead, acknowledge their complaints, thank them for their input and seek to make amends.

  1. Be flexible about solutions

You may wonder why you should reward someone for blowing up your company on social media. A better way to think of it is that you are giving them a second opportunity to experience the good side of what you have to offer. Consider a new company policy so all complaints do not need to travel up the line to you. This may include a $10 gift card or free return service.

  1. Follow up on the resolution

Many companies stop at number two and then end up in court. Offering a resolution does not mean it actually worked. Worst-case scenario, the customer was right and there is something amiss. Follow up. If there is still an issue that causes safety concerns, this gives you the opportunity to dig deeper.

This article shares tips from Forbes on how to deal with customer complaints. This should not be used in place of legal advice.